The past few years the c-suite has been willing to take a leap of faith on the benefits of social engagement. The declining impact of traditional media, explosive growth of social media and anecdotal evidence of social successes motivated them to do so.
But 2012 will be the year CEOs, CMOs and CCOs establish KPIs and benchmarking to better measure performance. That’s one finding of our just-released study: “The Economics of the Socially Engaged Enterprise” we conducted in collaboration with The Economist. Some other highlights:
- The average return on social engagement was calculated to be between 3-5%. The most engaged businesses are reporting a calculated 7.7% business impact specifically from social engagement, which is four times the performance of the lowest performers who only achieved a 1.9% estimated return.
- The top two areas where executives thought social engagement had real value were improved marketing and sales effectiveness (84%) and increased sales and market share (81%).
- C-suite advocacy is critical, now and in the future. Two-thirds of the organizations achieving the highest returns reported that their C-suites are active advocates- that is, they commit to social engagement as a strategy and they reallocate resources to make it happen.
- However, a full 28% of C-suite executives still don’t believe in social engagement. And the number one reason? The inability to gauge ROI (45%). For engagement to work, the C-suite has to believe in it and see measurable returns.
- Executives defined social engagement today as online listening (28%), blogging (24%) and building relationships with online influencers (21%). But the top performers have a different view – they will be more focused on ideas and action in the next two years. Big-return companies crowdsource new products (57%), or let customers participate in developing ideas — they are predicting a significant portion of new products will be derived from social engagement insights.
In the coming weeks we’ll be hosting a series of webinars with BrightTalk and releasing more information from the study. In the meantime, we’d love to know – is your management starting to get more serious about measuring business impact?